Finding a manual grinder that offers the romance of a hands-on experience while still delivering on performance remains elusive in the coffee world.
One popular manual grinder praised around circles of at-home and professional baristas is the JavaPresse manual burr grinder.
This small, compact grinder promises stable, consistent grinding in a portable package. This is what we think of the JavaPresse and how it measures up to other grinders on the market.
difficult to hold steady while grinding deprecates grind consistency
unbeatable price among manual coffee grinders
our rating, based on our sound and impartial assessment
Being sturdy and compact enough to use for traveling is where the JavaPresse really shines. The price point makes it an excellent option for beginners or anyone operating with a strict budget.
Manual grinders are tricky pieces of equipment to evaluate; there are intrinsic problems with hand grinding like consistency and durability that force us to shift our perspective slightly when we consider performance.
When automatic conical burr grinders are readily available, we have to consider the reasons we give our time and attention to a hand grinder in the first place: cost, ease of use, and the thrill of grinding coffee by hand.
We have to trade in a few of our standards for performance when we opt for a manual grinder. So when a product claims to meet our expectations for grind consistency while still offering a portable, cost-effective product, we are excited to learn more.
Here are the features that we think make the JavaPresse stand out from the crowd.
Detachable Hand Crank
Everything about the JavaPresse has been designed for maximum portability and this feature is no exception.
The crank hooks in at the top of the grinder but easily detaches to make the entire device even more compact. We like that the JavaPresse recognizes its strength as a portable grinder and includes this handy feature.
What we don’t like is that the hand crank can sometimes unhook while we’re grinding.
Ceramic Burr Mill
The grinding mechanism on the JavaPresse is a high-quality ceramic burr mill. Ceramic provides strength, durability, and precision to a coffee grinder and will stand the test of time over other materials, even stainless steel. The quality of the material surprises us given the JavaPresse’s lower cost.
Stainless Steel Body
The entire body of the JavaPresse is made of stainless steel. Somehow JavaPresse managed to create a grinder made from a durable material without adding weight and without adding to the price. There is a small window in the side of the body that lets you see into the lower compartment and monitor how much coffee you’ve ground.
Dual Plate System
In an attempt to produce a consistent grind, JavaPresse designed their burr mill to be a dual plate system where one burr remains stationary and the other turns. The idea is to increase stability, since it is the slight wobbling or shaking of a hand grinder that leaves room for error, resulting in boulders or fines. The company claims to have tested their dual plate system against 34 other competitors to ensure that their product made the most consistent grind.
Video: How do you stay grounded?
So how do these features make JavaPresse a stand-out product? This is what we think about this grinder’s performance and functionality.
Quality of Materials
Ease Of Use
Consistency of Grind
How Does It Compare?
For a manual grinder, the JavaPresse produces decent grind consistency in a portable package. However, like most manual grinders, it falls short of being able to deliver a truly stellar grind, especially like those needed to brew french press or cold brew.
This is a great option for anyone looking for a grinder they can use for traveling without sacrificing the quality or performance too much. It’s straightforward enough for beginners to use and durable enough to be an extremely cost-effective purchase for the price.
In fact, the biggest and most pleasant surprise about the JavaPresse is the low cost. The JavaPresse competes with grinders that are double or triple its price. It’s rare that we find budget-friendly coffee gadgets that don’t significantly sacrifice quality or performance.
Let’s compare the JavaPresse to a few other high-rated manual grinders on the market: the Porlex, the Handground, and the Hario Skerton.
JavaPresse vs. Handground vs. Hario Skerton
Like the JavaPresse, the Porlex is designed to be a travel-friendly grinder. These machines are quite similar: both have a stainless steel body, ceramic burrs, detachable handles, and a slender design. The Porlex is slightly smaller than the JavaPresse so it holds fewer beans.
The biggest difference, however, is the price: the Porlex is almost three times as much as the JavaPresse. Considering how much they have in common, that’s quite the difference. The Porlex does have a slight edge over the JavaPresse when it comes to performance because the burrs are spring loaded and more defined which produces a slightly better grind.
However, that slightly better grind is the only real difference between the two machines. The JavaPresse moves around while grinding just slightly and has a window for viewing how much coffee you’ve ground. Other than that, they perform almost the same, with the Porlex having just a slight edge. If you can get almost the same grind with all of the same quality and durability for a third of the price, the JavaPresse is the obvious choice.
Comparing the JavaPresse to the Handground or the Hario is a little different as there are fewer similarities in design. The weight and design of the Hario are not well-suited for traveling and while the Handground is sleek, it’s much heavier than the JavaPresse. Again, this is where the JavaPresse stands out.
For ease of use, the Handground is difficult to beat. The JavaPresse is simple and intuitive, but it lacks the numerical grind settings, gripping pad, and side crank that the Handground offers. The bulky shape of the Hario is difficult to grip while grinding, but the locking lid and gripping surface on the bottom a few user-friendly features. The JavaPresse is difficult to keep steady while grinding, but the slender shape is easy to hold so we would say it ties with the Hario for ease of use, depending on what is most comfortable for the user.
In terms of setting the grind size, JavaPresse falls somewhere in the middle. It’s not as user-friendly as the Handground’s simple numbers and camera lens method but it’s much easier to access the grinding adjustment on the JavaPresse than it is on the Hario. To adjust the grind on the Hario, you have to actually disassemble part of the top and access a small dial.
It’s difficult to judge the quality of grinding for a manual grinder when there are so many excellent electric conical burr grinders on the market. But overall, when you factor in the price point, the JavaPresse really does provide great value.
The ceramic burrs are durable, there’s a wide variety of grind settings, and the functionality is very user-friendly. We think it’s a particularly solid option for travelers or campers looking for a portable grinder that will get them good results.